Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
An upscale resort, with a focus on golf and tennis
The Lodge at Ventana Canyon caters to golf and tennis enthusiasts, although it is also a good location for guests seeking to explore the Santa Catalina Mountains, which stand just to the north in spectacular fashion. Two Tom Fazio-designed, 18-hole courses dip in and out of canyons and offer challenging terrain. Adding to the appeal are the great views of the mountains and city, which can also be enjoyed from The Lodge’s 11 tennis courts. Golf and tennis pros are on hand to teach the finer points of each sport.
Other outdoor activities include running, hiking, and biking (bike rentals are available) on a network of nature trails that crisscross the 600 acres of resort property. The hotel also has two heated pools, but they are somewhat disappointing. The kiddy pool is so tiny that it looks like a Jacuzzi. The main pool, although large, seems more fitting for a fitness facility than a resort. Visitors may prefer to use the pool at the nearby Loew’s Ventana Canyon resort, which offers free access to all guests of The Lodge. The resort does offer a solid 24-hour fitness center, which has a good mix of cardio equipment, weight machines, and free weights.
The rooms at The Lodge are huge and many feature excellent views of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Dining options include The Catalina Room and the Ventana Bar & Grill, both of which also offer spectacular views of the nearby mountain range.
In north Tucson, situated in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains
Located in north Tucson, The Lodge is situated in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains and surrounded by upscale neighborhoods. No shops or restaurants are within walking distance of the hotel, so a vehicle is essential. Parking and shuttle service are both included in the resort fees.
Tucson is the second-biggest city in Arizona and perhaps its most culturally rich. Though officially founded in 1776, Tucson was first settled in the late 1600s by Spanish missionaries (most notably at the beautiful Mission San Xavier del Bac, the region's most iconic structure), and 4000 years earlier by Hohokam Indians. It is said to be one of the longest continuously-inhabited cities in the USA, known since its inception as the "Old Pueblo."
Sitting at 2,400 feet in a broad valley between five different mountain ranges, Tucson enjoys on average 350 sunny days per year and an arid climate that produces one of the most diverse desert environments in the world. The Sonoran Desert features the stately saguaro cactus, which is celebrated at Saguaro National Park on the city's outskirts, and many other varieties of cacti and unique wildlife including a few notable desert dwellers, such as rattlesnakes, Gila Monsters, and Giant Desert Hairy Scorpions. There was even a 2009 sighting of a rare jaguar. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has wildlife and flora on display, and is the best place to learn more.
With all that sunshine, Tucson is an outdoor lover's paradise. Scores of golf courses dot the city. Hiking possibilities are limitless and year-round in the Santa Catalina and Santa Rita Mountains nearby, with Sabino Canyon Recreation Area being a local favorite. Mountain bikers come to Tucson by the thousands for the miles of single-track trails in the desert. Bird-watchers can explore some of the richest avian populations in North America in nearby secluded canyons. And there's even a ski area among fir and pine trees atop Mt. Lemmon, which has an elevation of more than 9,000 feet.
Tucson's Hispanic community is woven into the fabric of everyday life in the city, and is reflected in the Mexican restaurants, the Spanish place names, and the arts and culture that play a large part in forming Tucson's identity. The arts abound in Tucson in dozens of galleries, such as the Etherton Gallery or DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun (celebrating the work of Tucson artist Ted DeGrazia). The University of Arizona houses the Creative Center for Photography, the nation's largest repository of photographs by notable artists such as Ansel Adams and W. Eugene Smith.
As a desert city, Tucson gets hot in the summertime with temps ranging in the 100s from May to mid-September. Winter is the busy season, when many visitors succumb to the temptations of 75-degree days and pleasant evenings around a fireplace. Summers can be enjoyable too, by sticking close to a pool or indulging in shopping -- just remember to pack extra water and avoid exertion in the midday sun. Locals might suggest taking a siesta -- "nap" in Spanish -- during midday hours.
It's important to realize that freeways are nonexistent in Tucson, save for I-10. Driving times can vary depending on time of day, as rush hour creates a twice-daily snarl on surface streets.
Big and clean, with flat-screen TVs and some good views
There are only 50 units at The Lodge, making for a quiet overall experience. All units are massive suites, with even the standard ones encompassing 800 square feet. They feel homey and inviting, with kitchenettes, dining tables, and lots of framed prints adorning the walls. Even the color scheme is warm, with desert hues of brown and beige punched up by red accent furnishings. Leather chairs and large flat-screen TVs are nice touches, and some rooms come with high, vaulted ceilings. All have balconies or private patios, with lovely views from some of the suites.
Two 18-hole golf courses and 11 outdoor tennis courts, with golf and tennis instructors available for lessons
The Catalina Room offers a varied cuisine and stunning mountain views
This upscale resort offers a beautiful and serene setting in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, with just 50 units situated on 600 acres. Golf and tennis are the main attractions here, with two 18-hole courses that are considered among the best in Tucson, and 11 tennis courts. All units are large suites, and some offer stunning views of the nearby mountain range. Nightly resort fees, however, make some guests feel as though they are being nickel-and-dimed.